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Nicholas Johnson

Photo by George Kunze


Nicholas Johnson

In the Dark

I'd be the last to point the finger if
I were you. You don't feel like
a lover. More like a wasp
circling a bowl of ripe pears, full
of stinging assertions and needing
to do something with all that mud.
What's done is best left undone.
Let's leave it that way. What
a picture — wheelchairs, braces
of pronomial spite, handfuls
of resurrected dust and all those people
howling and beating their eggbeaters.
When I said I love you there was a tic-
tac of tears. Your eyes or my eyes
spun through the revolving doors
on the way in or out, confusing the already
confused invalids      pinwheeling
their way down the avenue. Then you held up
the X-ray of the kiss      to the light
for examination:  Shadows and bone
scuttering together their lattice
of teeth with the promised land smudged
in the background. Who wouldn't
feel immortal booted and zipped up
in their Darwin jeans, ready to survive
even the conservationists who insist
on turning out all unnecessary lights.
I didn't need a light then.
I used to believe I could see in the dark.
Now I think there's not enough dark
to go around. I open the windows
at night even though it's winter
just to let more dark in.
The dark is welcome and swarming with starlings.
The starlings are like you when I kiss you:
All useless lights extinguished
and all crippled wings atwitter.

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